Two Fables of Japan
. Hokuseido . Tokyo
GR340.M85 1957 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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A spring trip to a Creighton alumni gathering in Denver gave me a chance to look for books, and here is one that I found. The two dramas here are, I believe, extended fables: The Man of the Flowers and The Rabbit's Revenge. There is a good deal of the miraculous and magical at work, but at base the first story is one of a sustained confrontation between generosity (the title-character, Mr. Righteousness) and avarice (Mr. Greed). The special take of the story is on the power of each of these to interpret the same events differently. The former can sprinkle ashes, and they turn to flowers; the latter sprinkles ashes, and they turn to worms. The second story is about tricking the wicked trickster. Wicked badger talks his way out of being served up as stew by Grandpa and Grandma. He fakes a conversion, kills Grandma, takes her form, and serves her up as badger-stew to Grandpa. Rabbit, a good friend of Grandpa and Grandma, convinces badger that he is stupid and so deceives him in turn--and so gets revenge against him for what he did to Grandma. The expressive and copious illustrations for both stories are all marked 1917. Towards the back of the book, there is a pasted-in sticker with a stamp on it. It gives the price of this book as $1.